By Doug Farrar
October 27, 2013

Is Peyton Manning more injured than he's letting on? Signs point to 'maybe.' Is Peyton Manning more injured than he's letting on? Signs point to 'maybe.' (Joe Amon/Getty Images)

There's been a lot of talk over the last week about Peyton Manning's performance in the Denver Broncos' 39-33 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday night. Manning completed 29-of-49 passes for 386 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the game, but he was outdueled in the end by Andrew Luck -- the young man who, of course, replaced him in Indy. It was thought by some that Manning's game was affected by the Robert Mathis strip-sack with 8:52 left in the second quarter which gave the Colts a safety, but as it turns out, Manning may have played the entire Colts game with two sprained ankles.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Manning suffered both sprains the week before in Denver's 35-19 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The first sprain, per sources who spoke to Mortensen, happened on the first play of the game. The second occurred when he was hit low by Jacksonville defensive end Jason Babin. Mathis' sack may have aggravated one of the two injuries, described as a high ankle sprain.

Scans of the injuries were sent to Dr. Robert Anderson, who confirmed the high ankle sprain but said that it was not severe in nature. Manning missed practice on Wednesday, but was able to go the rest of the week in preparation for Denver's game against the Washington Redskins. He was listed as probable on Friday's injury report. Mortensen reported that Manning will most likely rely on a painkiller to get though the Washington game, as Denver has a bye the following week.

Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, a second-round pick out of Arizona State in 2012, has completed four passes in seven attempts for 22 yards in six regular-season games. If Osweiler needs to go for any reason, Washington's defense would be a good test -- they currently rank 23rd against the pass in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted efficiency rankings, and 28th overall.

“Not a lot of concern considering that Brock has been preparing the way that he prepares," Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase said on Thursday of Manning not practicing the day before. "We had a good day of practice. That was good to see his [Osweiler's] development from the preseason. He hasn’t had a rep in so long. For him to go out and execute the way that he did, that was impressive.”

Manning, who underwent several surgeries in 2011 to address neck and shoulder issues that caused him to miss that entire season, has not missed a game during his two seasons with the Broncos.

Gase was also asked if there are things the Broncos can do to avoid Manning getting hit so often.

"There are things we can do whether it’s with our backs, tight ends, our personnel groups, play calling -- there are a lot of things we can do to help him out and that’s what we’re going to do moving forward.”

Manning said on Wednesday that it was the decision of Broncos head trainer Steve "Greek" Antonopulos to hold him out for that one day, and he discounted the effects of whatever injuries he may have.

“I know the government is shut down right now but I still firmly believe in HIPPA," Manning said with a laugh. "And so I will refer all questions to the injury report. You can talk to ‘Greek,’ and good luck getting that interview.”

We'll have to wait and see how Manning looks against his next opponent.

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